The medicinal mushroom Shiitake (Lentinus elodes) detoxifies and revitalizes.
The Shiitake mushroom is a mushroom (ta-ké) that grows spontaneously in a Japanese oak called shii. It grows in humid environment rich in bamboo bacteria, it must fight to ensure its development, creating its defence system, manufacturing protective substances of immunostimulating properties. Nowadays it is cultivated on a great variety of trees. Its medicinal properties have been known since ancient times, it was the “elixir of life” of the Ming dynasty. At present, it has been the object of numerous scientific investigations.
The chemical analysis reveals about 50 enzymes, all essential amino acids (of which 25% are in the free state), minerals (potassium, phosphorus, iron, silicon, magnesium, aluminium, calcium, sulphur) and Vitamins (B2, B12, D2 and others). In addition, it contains a substance (eritadenine), which lowers cholesterol and activates blood circulation.
The variety of Shiitake with more active principles is the donko. From its spores has been isolated a substance, (the lentinano polysaccharide, that stimulates the production of interferons), produced by a virus associated with the fungus that defends of other viral invasions. In the human organism, interferons are intermediates in the immune response. Immunostimulating substances from shiitake spores exert a protective action against viral infections (especially influenza and chickenpox) and the development of cancer.
As the bark surrounding the spores is very hard, to take better advantage of its medicinal effects, it is preferable to consume them in the form of an extract. To do this they use the shiitake of the donko variety that sell dried. Grind until they get a fine powder and put in a saucepan with water to cover them, let it simmer until half of the water evaporates (about 45 minutes), and strain. The resulting liquid is the extract that will be taken daily in small amounts. In stores specialized in natural products can also be obtained, in the form of extract or capsules (experts recommend from 2 to 5 grams).
The dried mushrooms can be used to accompany a lot of culinary preparations (broths, rice, meats, seitan, stews, etc.), which give an exquisite aroma and flavour. Just soak them for at least 20 minutes to regain their original texture, and cook them until they are tender; The longer they soak, the less time they have to be cooked. Soaking water should not be thrown away, it has medicinal properties.
When it is intended to obtain a complete benefit of the shiitake as food-medicament, they will be added to the Algae and Miso broth together with the soaking water, or the rice in small pieces at the beginning of the cooking (one or two shiitakes per person).
Its effects are not immediate, must be taken during a season to observe its benefits, and these are many:
- Increase sexual vitality and potency. They allow a faster recovery from fatigue.
- Eliminate cholesterol and improve blood circulation.
- Helps the body to fight against viral diseases and cancer.
- Its powerful antioxidant effect helps regenerate cells and skin, prevents premature ageing.
- It is an excellent digestive because it contains enzymes such as pepsin and trypsin.
- Has tonic properties, another feature is that it regulates blood sugar levels by balancing energy consumption by the body.
- It is an anti-ageing food because on the one hand it contains antioxidants and on the other it favours the adequate levels of growth hormone.